Mr. Berticevich has over 30 years of experience representing primarily defense entities in construction defect and general liability matters. Mr. Berticevich joined the firm in November 2021, and has represented individuals and businesses at all stages of civil litigation, from pre-suit investigation, through pre-trial procedures and trial, and appeal. Many of the construction matters involved alleged defects in design and construction of residential and commercial properties with amounts in issue in the tens of millions of dollars. General and vehicle liability cases have involved catastrophic injury and death. Mr. Berticevich has tried several jury cases to verdict on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants, and has taken and defended hundreds of depositions.
Director of Administration
Virginia (Jenny) Balestrieri, Director of Administration is a professional with 14 years of human resource experience. For the last eighteen years she has held a management and support role with VLT. Prior to joining VLT, she was with the law firm of Strickland & Haapala now titled Haapala, Thompson and Abern in Oakland, CA for eight years. She has notable experience in human resource planning, performance management, federal and state law compliance, employment contracts (offer letters, ICA’s, various designations of employment) compensation, employee benefits and office management.
She holds a Business & Management Degree from Salisbury University. She has been a member with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), previous member and served on the board for East Bay Legal Administrators Association (EALA), designation of certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRC1) and pending certification for CLM (Certified Legal Management) and has developed a network of contacts in various areas in relation to VLT business and the community.
Virginia (Jenny) Balestrieri enjoys serving her community by coordinating donations to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA. She supports Toys for Tot’s and One Warm Coat with donations from various supporters including VLT during the holidays.
B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1980
J.D., UCLA School of Law, 1985
Mr. Manning represents Dentists, Physicians, Optometrists, Nurses, and Attorneys in malpractice claims, state board licensure and disciplinary matters, peer review and credentials inquiries, managed care disputes, discipline hearings for military medicine, and practice-related legal matters, including professional practice issues, practice sales, and transitions. Mr. Manning has lectured nationally and internationally on Risk Management and other legal issues for Dentists and Dental Auxiliaries, and to the Dental Managed Care industry. Mr. Manning is also a court-qualified expert witness in legal malpractice cases.
Mr. Manning also advises parties in a variety of business transactional matters, mechanic’s liens, and routine estate planning and probate matters. In the Aviation arena, Mr. Manning represents airport districts, pilots, mechanics, fixed base operators, and aviation insurers.
Mr. Manning’s product liability practice ranges from aircraft and motor vehicles, to large and small consumer products, tires and wheels, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices. Mr. Manning represents national motor vehicle manufacturers in Product Liability and Consumer Warranty (i.e., “lemon law”) litigation throughout California.
Mr. Manning’s non-legal experience is also a strong asset to his clients. He has several years of engineering and technical writing experience in the fields of nuclear engineering, marine engineering, and motor vehicle and consumer product manufacturing, and decades of experience in aviation as a Commercial Pilot and Certificated Flight Instructor. Military service: United States Navy, Vietnam era veteran.
Dental Board of California v Richard C. Griswold, DDS. In a very unique but troubling case in 2000, Mr. Manning represented a Dentist who was charged with, and bound over for trial of, manslaughter after the death of a dental patient thirty hours after Dr. Griswold extracted numerous teeth. The Dental Board brought an emergency dental license revocation case against Dr. Griswold alleging forty (40) substantive charges of negligence, gross negligence, and incompetence. Based on his thorough investigation, including discovery of two rolls of undeveloped film taken by law enforcement authorities, and interviews with numerous lay and medical witnesses, Mr. Manning convinced the Coroner to reverse his original opinion as to cause of death in trial. All Dental Board charges were dismissed after a three (3) week trial before an Administrative Law Judge, which the District Attorney attended. The El Dorado County Superior Court subsequently dismissed all criminal charges upon request of the District Attorney.
Pacific States Aviation v Simon Motors, Inc. Again in trial in 2000, and in one of his rare plaintiff’s cases, Mr. Manning prevailed in a three (3) week jury trial of a Malicious Prosecution action following his successful defense of the underlying aviation suit. On Directed Verdict during trial, the Superior Court found that the original suit was brought without Probable Cause. After closing argument on the issue of malice, the jury awarded monetary damages to Plaintiff. Defendants lost their subsequent appeal on all issues, but Mr. Manning won his cross-appeal, and the First District Court of Appeal ordered a new trial to allow plaintiff to seek punitive damages.
Revland v Winnebago Industries. In 1997, Mr. Manning prevailed in the Fifth District Court of Appeal, following his successful summary judgment in the trial court of the first “lemon dumping” trial in California. The jury awarded plaintiff nearly $500,000 against the other defendants.
Marin v City of Antioch. In 1996, Mr. Manning prevailed in the First District Court of Appeal, following his successful judgment in favor of law enforcement personnel who were sued by a surviving wife in a multi-death police misconduct suit. Plaintiff’s husband (whom she was divorcing) had taken all their children hostage in their home, and later murdered them and killed himself, during a SWAT Team stand-off. Mr. Manning prevailed on summary judgment in the trial court establishing that the police were not negligent.
Licensed to practice law in California since 1985, Mr. Manning is also a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and Federal District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California. He is a longtime member of the American Bar Association, and is affiliated with numerous divisions and sections of the ABA and the State Bar of California. Mr. Manning’s volunteer legal activities include acting as a State Bar Special Master, and a Legal Fee Dispute Arbitrator. He also acts as a Judge Pro Tem, Judicial Mediator, Arbitrator, and Settlement Mentor for the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Mr. Manning was the long-time Chairman of the Contra Costa County Airport Land Use Commission and served as the Secretary to the Contra Costa County Aviation Advisory Committee, and he served the City of Concord as Vice-Chair of the Board of Appeals. Mr. Manning was the (1996/97) President of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, holding numerous Chamber positions for several years.
B.S., University of California, Davis, 2009
J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 2013
Jennifer Z. Krenzin joined the firm of Van De Poel, Levy, Thomas LLP in May 2019. Her practice focuses on civil litigation in the areas of construction defect, landlord/ tenant, contract, and personal injury.
She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2009 with a B.S. in Psychology, emphasis in Biology and earned her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2013. During her second year in law school, she volunteered as a certified law student with Legal Services of Northern California providing advice and assistance to income eligible Sacramento residents in need of help with landlord/ tenant legal issues.
Jennifer was admitted to the State Bar of California in December 2013 and practiced in the Sacramento area for over five years before returning to the Bay Area. She is licensed to practice law in all courts within the State of California as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California.
B.A., California State University Hayward, 2004
J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, 2007
Heinz was admitted as an attorney and counselor at law by the Supreme Court of the State of California in 2008 and is licensed to practice law in all Courts of the State. He is also admitted to the United States District Court, Central District of California.
Heinz graduated from California State University Hayward magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California where he graduated in the top third of his class. After practicing law in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Heinz returned to the Bay Area where he now focuses his practice in the areas of personal injury, premises liability, and complex construction defect disputes.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Heinz worked in various capacities for two technology startups, a broadcast media monitoring company and a legal software provider, where he gained invaluable insight into the business world and hopes one day to start his own company.
University of the Pacific – McGeorge School of Law
J.D. Government Affairs & Trial Advocacy 2000
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
B.A. Political Science
Elisabeth (Beth) Morris is experienced in all areas of litigation, including real estate, construction, general liability, products liability, and business torts. Her practice also includes trust and estate litigation.
Beth was an attorney with the firm from 2004-2012, returning to practice with the firm in 2019. During the interim, she worked for venture-backed startups and global cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks on internet policy initiatives, cyber security risk management, and strategic alliances. She also worked for an established Silicon Valley law firm counseling emerging technology enterprises and large public corporation clients on employment and contract matters. Beth’s experience working with Fortune 100/500 technology companies extends to her early career when she was a Lobbyist and Law & Public Policy Advocate for Verizon Communications (MCI, Inc.) in Washington, D.C.
Beth practices in both our Northern and Southern California offices. She is a member of the Bar of California, and the California Lawyers Association Trusts and Estates section. She is admitted to practice in all California state courts as well as the United States District Court for Northern District of California.
B.A., Antioch College, 1980
J.D., UCLA, 1983
Vicky graduated from Antioch College in 1980 and from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law in 1983. She has been an active member of the State Bar of California since 1983, and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Southern, Central and Northern Districts of California as well as the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals.
Vicky is also a Certified Horsemanship Association English and Western horseback riding instructor, and has previously consulted in matters of equine safety and management.
B.A., University of California at Berkeley
J.D., San Francisco Law School, President of the Student Bar Association, Dean’s List
David is a member of the State Bar of California, the United States District Court (Northern District of California), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and the Contra Costa County Bar Association.
B.A., Mass Communication, University of Utah, 1983
J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law, 1988
LL.M., Golden Gate University School of Law, 1998
Professional and Community Affiliations
Member, State Bar of California
Former Member, Board of Directors – Ability Now Bay Area, Oakland, California
Former Member, Board of Directors – Mary Valle Foundation, Oakland, California
B.A., University of California at Davis, 1996
J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 2000
In addition to her litigation practice, Natalie advises solid waste refuse and recycling companies in risk management and general business interests.
Natalie’s combination of sector expertise and in-depth regional understanding provides a unique perspective to her practice.
During law school, Natalie worked as a law clerk for the California State Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Section, and gained valuable insight into California’s environmental regulatory system. She was a semi-finalist in the Environmental Moot Court competition, and was also awarded the Public Interest Law certificate for her extensive coursework in the environmental, water law, and land use areas.
Natalie is a member of the State Bar of California, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and the California Refuse and Recycling Counsel, the trade association representing solid waste and recycling companies in the State of California.
She is licensed to practice law in all courts within the State of California, the United States District Court of the Northern District of California, and the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1985
J.D., University of California, Boalt Hall, School of Law, 1988
With over 35 years of practice, I have a wide variety of experiences to draw on when counseling clients. Over my career, I have focused on litigation, and through that work I built relationships with many clients whom I now act as general counsel for on a range of issues from contract review, pre-litigation business disputes, to issues arising in the midst of a construction project. My trial experience includes being lead trial counsel in numerous jury trials. In 2014-2015, I was the lead trial counsel in a complex 98 day bench trial, which resulted in a favorable outcome for my architect client. In 2016, I participated in a binding arbitration in which we successfully obtained specific performance of a sale of a motel in San Francisco, after the seller attempted to back out of the deal. From 2017 to 2019, I obtained a defense verdict for our clients in 3 separate jury trials. In 2021, my client prevailed in a jury trial involving a failure to disclose in a real estate purchase action. While I am an accomplished trial attorney, the best result for a client is often a reasonable settlement. The fact that very few of my cases go to trial is evidence of effective settlement negotiation.
B.S., University of California at Santa Barbara, with honors, 1989
J.D., Whittier College, School of Law, summa cum laude, 1992
David’s active professional liability practice involves defending real estate brokers/agents, loan originators, funds control companies, and property managers from claims brought against them by real estate purchasers or third parties, and through the Department of Real Estate. David’s practice also includes significant experience in the handling of architects and engineers, testing agents, attorneys, tax preparers and CPAs, and insurance brokers among other specialty groups.
David and his team have considerable recent trial experience. This includes over 120 trial days within the last two years. One case involved a $30 Million claim involving a high end single family home in the exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco where we represented the architect. Not only did we obtain a net $-0- award for our client, but we were able to secure the general contractor to pay ½ our defense. As a side note, the award against the general contractor exceeds $19 million. The other recent trial involved the defense of an engineering firm which had claims of delay and elder abuse from a 90 year old high end property owner in San Jose, one of the most expensive property regions in the country. In this case, the jury sided with our defense team for a 12-0 defense verdict. The Court also awarded our client recovery of attorney fees and costs.
David founded the firm in 2002 with Jay Van De Poel, Jr., with whom he had previously worked in the Walnut Creek office of Dale, Braden, and Hinchcliffe. David practices in both our Northern and Southern California offices.
He is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and the Contra Costa County Barristers Association. He is also a former member of the Barristers Board of Directors.
B.S., University of California at Berkeley, 1980
J.D., University of San Francisco, School of Law, 1983
Jay Van De Poel, Jr. brings a wealth of litigation and practical experience to his cases. He has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell – an indication of the high level of skill, integrity and professional excellence Jay has attained during his years as an attorney.
Jay founded the firm in 2002 with David Levy, with whom he worked previously in the Walnut Creek office of Dale, Braden, and Hinchcliffe. He is also the son of John Van De Poel, Sr., who was a litigator in the Bay Area, and a Superior Court judge before his passing.
Jay has tried over 20 cases to verdict. Jay represents clients in a full range of litigation and civil matters, including catastrophic injuries, property, personal injury, construction defect, business litigation, professional liability and landlord/tenant cases. He has also acted as a private and court-appointed arbitrator and mediator.
He is a member of the State Bar of California, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, The American Bar Association, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and the Defense Research Institute. He is also a member of the Association of Northern California Defense Counsel, where he is a former member of the Board of Directors.
Graduate from University of California, Davis and Santa Clara University School of Law.
Mr. Heck also handles general liability matters including personal injury and products liability claims.
Mr. Heck’s practice covers all phases of civil litigation from pre-litigation negotiations to pleadings, law and motion, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, and trial.
Mr. Heck is a graduate of the University of California, Davis and Santa Clara University School of Law. He was admitted to the California Bar in 2001 and is admitted to practice before all the courts of the State of California.
B.A., University of California, San Diego, California, 1990
J.D., Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, 1998, cum laude receiving American
Jurisprudence Awards in Torts, Criminal Law, Real Property, Bankruptcy, Corporate Law, and Immigration Law, 1996-1998
Stephen K. Anderson is Of Counsel in the Walnut Creek office of VLT. Mr. Anderson is a member of the Business & Commercial, Construction Law, Professional Liability practice groups, primarily handling personal injury, premises liability, product defect, construction defect and bankruptcy matters. He has been practicing in the Northern California area for over 13 years with significant focus on civil litigation matters, including first party collection, judgment enforcement, contract dispute litigation, construction claim management and litigation, landlord tenant litigation, and general civil defense work. He has been active in the construction bar for over 13 years, assisting clients as they navigate the ins and outs of construction litigation. Mr. Anderson is licensed to practice law before all courts in California, including the Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern Federal District Courts.
Mr. Anderson handles corporate and personal bankruptcy debtor and creditor work as well, having formerly clerked for Judge Louise DeCarl Adler of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of California. Previously, he worked for the Department of Justice in the United States Trustee’s Office in San Diego, California.
Mr. Anderson is an active member of the Association of Defense Counsel for Northern California.
Andrea Tool is an associate attorney who joined VLT in May 2021. Her practice focuses on personal injury, real property, and business litigation.
Andrea received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was a member of the highly-regarded Hastings moot-court team. With two moot-court teammates, Andrea won a national championship at the National Cultural Heritage Competition in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to attending Hastings, Andrea worked as a court clerk for two judges and was a paralegal.
Andrea is a member of the State Bar of California. She is admitted to practice in all California state courts, as well as the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
B.S., University of Oregon, 2007 – Journalism (with Honors)
J.D., Santa Clara University, School of Law, 2011
Nicolet E. Corliss is an Associate Attorney at Van De Poel, Levy, Thomas LLP. Her practice focuses on real property, landlord/tenant, and business litigation. Nicolet is a strong advocate for her clients. She received her J.D. from Santa Clara University, where she served as both the Managing Editor for The Advocate, Santa Clara School of School of Law’s award-winning newspaper, as well as a Technical Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review. Nicolet is a skilled, passionate litigator, having placed as a Semi-Finalist at Harvard’s 2011 Animal Law Moot Court Competition.
Nicolet served as a Judicial Extern for the Hon. Nathan Mihara of the Sixth District Court of Appeal of California, where she refined her legal research, writing and understanding of California Appellate practice. Ms. Corliss also served as a Judicial Intern for Hon. Richard Loftus, Jr. of the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
In 2013, Nicolet was honored by the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice & Diversity Center as one of the top 15 percent of the volunteers in its Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Homeless Advocacy Project, and Diversity Educational Programs. In addition, Nicolet has been selected to the 2015 and 2016 Super Lawyers Northern California Rising Star list.
Nicolet is a member of the State Bar of California. She is licensed to practice law in all courts within the State of California as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California.
B.A., University of Oregon in Journalism, 1993
J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, IIT, 1997
Jennifer is one of the firm’s top litigators and trial counsel. She obtained her B.A. degree from the University of Oregon in Journalism and her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, IIT. Jennifer is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts in California and Illinois.
Specializing in complex product and premises liability cases, transportation litigation and employment cases, Jennifer’s legal experience brings a wealth of litigation and trial support to the firm’s clients. She has handled multi-million dollar transportation, wrongful death, products and premises liability cases in both state and federal court, representing local, national, and international corporations and organizations. She represents private industry, insurance companies, and self-insured corporations of all sizes while litigating and resolving high-profile cases.
Jennifer is lead for the firm’s 24/7 emergency responses team which handles all types of catastrophic accidents as well as media relations. She promotes early resolution when possible, through litigation tactics and early settlement discussions. She is also very successful in obtaining winning results for her clients through motions and pre-trial strategy, having many cases dismissed or settled following rulings on motions. She has also obtained defense judgments following court trials on technical legal issues in addition to defense verdicts in high-exposure jury trials.
In addition to providing advice and counsel to clients, businesses, and risk managers, Jennifer has presented seminars in the United States and United Kingdom to organizations and businesses on trial strategy and risk reduction techniques and has authored articles on liability topics and other legal updates. She is a member of many defense related organizations as well as the State Bar of California, The Illinois State Bar, Contra Costa County Bar Association, ADC of Northern California, International Association of Defense Counsel, Themis Advocates Group, TIDA, Phi Alpha Delta, Sigma Kappa Sorority and Order of Omega.
Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge,
Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ben received his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and earned his Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Berkeley.
In his spare time, Ben enjoys farming corals, fishing, and spending time with his wife and two young children.
J.D., UCLA, 2015
Hua is admitted to practice in all California state courts and she is a member of the American Bar Association. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and playing the violin. Hua is fluent in Mandarin.
B.S., Creighton University, 1980
J.D., Creighton University School of Law, 1983
Jim is a member of the State Bar of California and has practiced in the Northern and Eastern District of California in the Federal System.
B.A., University of Southern California, 2005 – Communication
J.D., University of San Francisco, School of Law, 2015
Reid received his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of law, where he served as a literary editor of the Maritime Law Journal, a survey author for the University of San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Bulletin, and a two-time participant in the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition. He also served as a Judicial Extern for the Hon. Linda Colfax and Hon. Michael Begert of the San Francisco County Superior Court.
Prior to entering the legal profession, Reid worked as a copywriter in the advertising industry. He conceptualized marketing campaigns and wrote television, print, and online advertisements for a variety of brands and national companies. Reid has found the creative thinking and communication skills that he acquired in advertising to have benefited his unique approach to problem solving for his clients and resolving detailed issues before the court.
Reid is a member of the State Bar of California and currently serves on the Executive Committee The Lawyers’ Club of San Francisco Inn of Court. He is licensed to practice law in all courts within the State of California.